Time for Speaker Boehner to Say Goodbye

john-boehner_bOn Friday, I praised Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on his decision to leave office; now, I’m going to bury him.

What changed? Boehner’s announced intention to not go away, but instead to use his lame-duck period to “clean the barn.”

Perhaps it is lost on Boehner, but what is all over the barn floor is not chocolate candy. It is the remains of the Obama agenda that has been rejected by the House.

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Since Boehner was not specific, one can only presume that he wants to pass that agenda taking the country on the exact far-left course which the public voted against to put him into power. All due to a venal sense that the meanie conservatives in the GOP conference wouldn’t let him have all of what K Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue wanted, such as reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Boo-frickin’-hoo. I guess Boehner was out of the loop when the national Republican Party political organs spent millions of dollars promising to end ObamaCare if elected. Those speeches and commercials condemning President Obama’s executive amnesty must have been sanctioned elsewhere, over Boehner’s objections. And the constant Republican refrain about the dangers of the ever-expanding national debt must be news to him.

Rather than solving problems for his successor, Boehner’s announced intention to pass legislation exacerbates them, putting his presumed successor, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and all of the Republican leadership team, in the uncomfortable position of having to take strong stands against any Boehner proposal that relies upon the good will of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to pass.

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How does Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) whip the Republican Conference on legislation at the Speaker’s behalf — legislation that Scalise himself opposes?

How does Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) justify doing the Speaker’s will, and setting up votes on bills that benefit the left, when they are opposed by his fellow conference members and his Dallas-area constituents?

After having watched former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) immediate power dimunition that led him to leave soon after his primary defeat in 2014, Boehner should be very much aware that while he still has the Speaker’s balcony for another month, the power of the office has already flowed to his presumed successor, the current majority leader. The very same majority leader who, in his current job, is charged with setting the schedule of the House.

With the vote for Speaker still pending, the majority leader can and should thwart any egregious Boehner action simply by using his power over the legislative calendar.

Boehner should finish out the two-month continuing resolution that he is working on and then retire gracefully on Oct. 1, allowing the House to move forward with the new leadership it so desperately needs.

That would be true leadership, and those who will succeed him deserve their opportunity to shine, free from the infighting that would taint efforts to bring new life to the big government agenda that has been so roundly rejected by the voters.


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Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government and the former Public Affairs Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor. Americans for Limited Government is dedicated to putting the principles of limited government into action. They work with local groups across the nation to promote freedom, limited government, and the principles of the U.S. Constitution. Their goal is to harness the power of American citizens and grassroots groups in order to put the people back in charge in states across the country.
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